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Vet gives Pakistan sheep clean bill of health

Beef Central, 20/09/2012

A Dubai-based veterinarian asked to assess the health status of a large consignment of Australian sheep that Pakistan authorities have ordered to be culled due to disease concerns has given the sheep a clean bill of health, according to a statement released by the exporter Wellard Rural Exports this afternoon.

The statement reads:

An independent veterinarian from a leading World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) accredited veterinary practice has provided a clean bill of health for Australian sheep in Pakistan.

Dr Ulrich Wernery, the scientific director of the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in the United Arab Emirates, inspected the sheep in a Karachi feedlot and found no evidence of exotic disease in the animals.

“These sheep do not suffer from any infectious diseases what so ever (sic) and should be professionally slaughtered for meat production without any delay to avoid any suffering and also to avoid any animal welfare concerns,” Dr Wernery concluded.

“It is of paramount importance to stop now the needless and unnecessary culling of healthy animals.”

CVRL operates as a Government diagnostic centre for the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries, and provides diagnostic and pre-import testing.

It was intended that Dr Wernery would take blood tests from the sheep for analysis at the CVRL laboratory and Wellard would provide an update on the results of those tests. Unfortunately local authorities prevented Dr Wernery from taking blood samples from the sheep for further analysis. Wellard can only speculate what the motives for that restriction were given Dr Wernery’s independence and reputation.

Wellard Managing Director Mauro Balzarini said Dr Wernery’s report validated the continued statements from PK Livestock, Wellard and the Australian Government that the sheep are healthy, fit for human consumption and pose no health risk to other Pakistani livestock.

“Dr Wernery is an internationally recognised veterinarian and his assessment that the sheep are fit, healthy and disease free provides important independent, third party endorsement of the sheep’s health status,” Mr Balzarini said.

In addition to Dr Wernery’s visual inspection, blood tests taken from the sheep on arrival in Pakistan were cleared by the by Pakistan Veterinary Laboratories in an OIE accredited laboratory in Islamabad.

“We are confident that the sheep will pass any proper testing process without issue,” Mr Balzarini said.

“The health and safety of the Australian sheep flock is recognised globally for providing a clean, safe food supply to many countries around the globe.

“These sheep have passed numerous animal health tests and inspections in numerous countries and remain fit for human consumption.

"I join Dr Wernery in pleading to the Pakistani authorities to immediately stop this cull of healthy sheep that can be safely consumed.”

Mr Balzarini said PK Livestock’s abattoir facilities, which are HACCP and ISO-accredited and OIE-compliant, would stand up to scrutiny throughout the world.

“PK Livestock has been our customer for decades and their operations are among the best we have witnessed in all the Middle East,” he said.

“PK Livestock’s reputation for quality and animal welfare attention is recognized throughout the entire region and it is unjust for them to endure this invasion of their property without any proper scientific rationale for the actions others have undertaken.”

The veterinarian's statement can be read by clicking here

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